Living the Dream

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B | 1 USERS: B+
Darkly Dozing Dexter
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Previously on Dexter, our titular murderous hero married Rita, but not before he knocked her up. He fretted for a whole season about how he could possibly be a father, but ultimately he got cool with it. He also befriended Miguel Prado, learned they both enjoyed killing people, learned Miguel enjoyed it a bit TOO much, and killed Miguel. Deb started dating her informant, then learned from Dex that their dad wasn't always faithful to their mom, and since Deb has both daddy issues and can't-leave-shit-alone issues, she decided to dig into it. All in all, a hell of a lot better than all that crap with the crazy rehab girlfriend.

To kick things off in Season 4, we get juxtaposed scenes of Dexter, driving at night, flashing some intense eyeballs and voice-overing about "tonight's the night" and intense primal needs, interspersed with scenes of a naked John Lithgow (and yes, let's all get it out of our systems right now, because it looks like it'll be happening a lot) preparing a bath and laying extra towels around the tub. This being Dexter, I trust we can dispose of the pretense that this might not be anything but purely foreboding.

Turns out Dexter's ominous talk of primal needs is referring to the primal need of a good night's sleep. He pulls the car over, opens the back door, and sees baby Harrison, still awake. Seems the midnight ride hasn't made the kid any sleepier, much to Dexter's chagrin. Naked Lithgow, however, is not up to anything so innocuous. A young brunette closes her medicine cabinet to find Lithgow standing behind her in the mirror. He grabs her in a choke-hold, and next thing we know, they're both naked and submerged in the tub, her back to his front, his forearm still across her throat. He keeps trying to shush her, coaxing her to fall asleep. On its own, it's a horrifying image of perverse paternalism. Juxtaposed with daddy Dexter trying to get his kid to sleep, it's even creepier. The woman passed out, Lithgow reaches for his straight razor and slices it across her upper thigh. That gets her struggling again, but with the femoral artery gushing blood into the water, it's futile. Lithgow then grabs a hand mirror so he can see her face as she dies. Sick, sick stuff.

So, you know: Good morning, Miami! In a cute bit, the opening credits music starts, and that familiar mosquito starts sucking on Dexter's arm. Only this time, his swat misses. Dex is clearly off his game. The faux credits sequence continues: he pulls the t-shirt over his face, a scene that is disturbingly appealing in the real credits, but is robbed of any latent sex appeal by the spit-up stain on the shoulder; he breaks a lace tying his shoes. Before we can see just how wrong the juicing of a blood orange can go, a yawning Dexter catches the sound of Cody playing Marco-Polo in the backyard. Because also in the offseason, Dex and Rita bought a fancy new house in a fancy new neighborhood with a fancy pool in the yard. Rita's trying to wrangle him into his school clothes, while Astor blasts her music from her bedroom. "If I had an iPod," she says, Rita wouldn't be subjected to her crap music. Rita says that's no way to lobby for an iPod. Man, putting a serial killer under the same roof as a teen girl entering her bitchiest years? Recipe for disaster.

Dex is all shirt-and-tied up because he's in court this morning, but he's looking the opposite of sharp. And he left his keys in the fridge. Out front, we see the new house is painted a shade of bright salmon only Tim Burton or Maria LaGuerta could love. He voices over how he's now playing the role of the perfect suburban father and husband, while next door, an actual perfect suburban father and husband horses around with his kids. Perfecto Dad -- Elliott -- works out a kid-watching arrangement with Rita as the rest of us file him under C for "Chekhov" and move on. "Carpools and swimming pools," Rita remarks as she hugs Dexter. "How much are we living the dream?" Dexter's "Soooo much," could be more convincing.

Actually living the dream is Deb, who, at the moment, is living the dream of her hot boyfriend going down on her. Anton's still got the scars on his back from when the Skinner was ... well, skinning him. He and Deb talk domestic -- they need to TiVo Jon Stewart, after all -- but when it comes time for another round in bed, Deb's late for work. Anton exposits that they've moved in together, and that he's about to go on tour with whatever band he's in that I kind of forgot about. Anton tells her she makes him happy, and Deb gets that look on her face. That "Oh shit, I got something good here, better get to fucking it up" look.

In court, Dexter's on the witness stand, answering questions from an attorney (Lisa Darr, the mom from Popular), and fumbling through his paperwork like someone who doesn't generally have a pathological tendency towards organization. Fatherhood really does change people. The way Popular Mom is rolling her eyes and sighing at this display, you'd think she was the prosecutor, but she's actually the defense attorney. When Dexter reads some lab results that don't sound right, P-Mom asks him to repeat, and he realizes he's reading from the wrong case file. Must've left the one for this case at home. In the gallery, Quinn lets out a disgusted sigh and stomps out, while P-Mom absolutely decimates Dexter's credibility, as a witness and investigator.

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